Modeled after real-life courtrooms, Collin College’s new mock trial room in the Spring Creek Campus Library hosted its first event, the Collin College Mock Trial Invitational, Feb.1.
With current and former Dallas County judges sitting on the bench, students competed with universities from across the South and Collin College performed with professionalism and ease, taking second and third in the overall tournament ranking.
The diverse teams, composed of aspiring attorneys as well as international students and engineering majors who joined to improve their public speaking skills, competed at the national level in 2012 and hope to return this year.
Team captain and Mock Trial President Michelle Davis said out of the 20 invitational rounds she has participated in, performing for such a realistic audience, in such a life-like setting, is extremely uncommon.
“It’s really unheard of to have actual judges on the bench at this level of competition,” Davis said. “It’s incredible to be afforded these opportunities, especially at a community college.”
Receiving the only perfect score, Davis also won the tournament award for Best Attorney, and Mock Trial Secretary Mark Yablon earned second place for Best Witness.
Technology provided in the new mock trail room is instrumental in helping prepare students for their national goal. Video and audio equipment installed throughout the room allows users to download a copy of their performance, take it with them and evaluate it from three different angles.
Davis and team member April Cheney said they feel honored to have access to the mock trial courtroom and its resources.
“You can’t explain it. In building a room like this for us to use, it’s obvious how much Collin College cares about its students,” Cheney said.
In addition to Davis, Cheney and Yablon, competing Collin College Mock Trial team members include Sergio Orjuela. Angela Li, Nicole Ordonez, Diana Hargrave, Damion White, Karla Arce, Celia Ault, Bakhtawar Khan, Shahan Jamal, Mackenzie Luce and Artie Pskhatsiyev. Advisors for the teams are Robert Franklin, Phil McMahan and Candace Eldridge.